When the Springboks open their 13-match tour at the Arms Park tomorrow they will not have to face Mike Rayer, who is still in hospital after breaking his leg against Treorchy last Saturday. Rayer, Wales's full-back against Romania and Italy this season, hopes to be discharged today.
John, by preference and training an outside-half, is the son of Mervyn John, a fine flanker who played for Cardiff against the 1969 Springboks and is now club chairman. When the team was announced John junior was not even aware of his inclusion, having left for a lecture at Cardiff University before the letter arrived at his Porthcawl home.
Despite South Africa's developing reputation for free-ranging rugby, John was immediately warned by Kitch Christie, the South African coach, to expect a barrage of high balls. 'He has had a lot of experience under pressure,' Alex Evans, Cardiff's Australian coaching organiser, said though in fact he has made only two league appearances this season.
There are eight Welsh internationals in the side, whose forward composition was dictated by the need perceived by Evans to counter the Springboks' height and bulk. Hence Owain Williams, usually a No 8, will play on the flank rather than the smaller, specialist open side Mike Budd.
Cardiff: C John; S Ford, M Hall (capt), C Laity, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; M Griffiths, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, S Roy, D Jones, H Taylor, E Lewis, O Williams. Replacements: J Hewlett, A Booth, M Bennett, H Stone, A Lewis, H Bevan.